(Reuters) – Injured Burkina Faso winger Jonathan Pitroipa is risking a wasted journey of mind-boggling proportions by leaving their African Nations Cup training camp to try to be fit for Stade Rennes’ French League Cup semi-final.
The 26-year-old has been given permission by Burkina Faso to make a quick trip from Africa to Europe and back again as Rennes, looking for a first trophy since 1971, are keen to pull out all the stops against Montpellier on Wednesday.
"I really wanted to be here," Pitroipa told the club’s website (www.staderennais.com) before making the start of his near 20,000 km trek.
Pitroipa, who has 33 caps with Burkina Faso, is due to fly back on Thursday to South Africa where the African tournament takes place from January 19.
"Unfortunately, Jonathan Pitroipa is doubtful. He suffered a blow to his hip during a Burkina Faso friendly," coach Frederic Antonetti told reporters.
The unpredictable winger has been key this season for Rennes, sixth in the Ligue 1 standings, scoring six goals and setting up three others in 19 league games.
Rennes could also be without centre backs Onyakachi Apam and John Mensah, who have been suffering thigh and back problems respectively.
Burkina Faso have been drawn with holders Zambia, Nigeria and Ethiopia in the group stage.
(Writing by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Mark Meadows)
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